I had a strong practice today after an easy day yesterday. My thighs, hips, and lower back were unusually sore, and my wrists and elbows have been giving me the business this week, so I omitted all arm balances and handstands from yesterday's practice to give them a break.
I began my practice this morning with a supported reclining bound angle. Aunt Flow came to town, which probably explains the soreness I was feeling yesterday, so this was a nice way to start by opening the pelvis. The breath was very long and loud, almost resonant, like a hidden reserve in my lungs had opened up for the first time. The inhales seemed to go on forever. Very interesting.
I wasn't sure how I'd feel once I got moving, with the residual soreness and all, but was pleased to find that I was feeling strong and especially well grounded. I took advantage of this by working through a challenging standing sequence that went a little something like this:
extended side angle
ardha chandrasana, grabbing the foot
urdhva prasarita eka padasana
Uttita hasta padangusthasana A, B, C, and D
revolved side angle, hands in prayer position
revolved side angle, with the bottom hand to the floor outside of the foot, the other reaching straight up to deepen the twist
Revolved triangle and revolved side angle are still a bit troublesome. I've started practicing revolved triangle on my weak side with the hand just to the inside of the foot, rather than the outside. Obviously, the twist isn't as deep, but it is helping me to square my hips a little better. I'm still not able to ground through the back heel on this side. It's very frustrating. Stay down, already! Revolved triangle on the other side is coming along quite nicely, however. Feels stable, good breathing, no tweaks in the hips, and the right heel stays nicely grounded behind me.
I've been working toward bringing my legs back through my arms for seated jump backs. I came closer than I ever have today, but still, it's not quite happening. I have enough height, I just can't seem to keep my knees close enough together to fit through the opening. Maybe more rounding in the back could help. And more in the bandhas, no doubt. It just needs to be tighter. I did manage to jump back from eka pada koundinyasana I and II today. My landing from EPK-1 was a little crooked, but not too bad, really.
Urdhva dhanurasana was big and round today. Walking in the hands as well as the feet is making an enormous difference. I never thought to walk the hands in until recently, probably because I used to worry a lot about slipping in this pose, but it really brings the curve into the upper spine and opens the chest. I've been thinking about the direction of the breath in urdhva dhanurasana, and other asanas where the chest is fully expanded. It's difficult to direct the breath into the chest and maintain a long inhale, but I'm beginning to feel that it's possible. Though, admittedly, bandhas, which are used to direct the breath, are often the furthest thing from my soaring mind in urdhva dhanurasana.
No inversions today. I'll probably take a couple more days off from the upside-down stuff to let Aunt Flow do her thing. I go back to work tonight, and I'll be working an extra day this week, so I'll have to try to keep the practices relatively short for the next several days. Maybe an hour, or an hour and a half? Can I do it?
Sheesh... the yoga addiction is really kicking in.